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The George R. Brown School of Engineering recognizes alumni in three principal categories:

  • The Outstanding Engineering Alumnus award (OEA), established in 1974, recognizes Rice engineering alumni for careers of outstanding professional achievement and service. It is the School's highest award for alumni distinction. Lihong Wang '92 is the 2016-17 OEA Recipient.
  • The Outstanding Young Engineering Alumnus award (OYEA), established in 1996, recognizes the achievements of Rice engineering alumni under the age of 40. David D. Allison '08 is the 2016-17 OYEA Recipient.
  • The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM), established in 2012, recognizes Rice engineering alumni for extraordinary service to the School of Engineering and its alumni community. It is the School's highest award for alumni service. The DSM is intended to recognize exceptionally meritorious service of a visionary, foundational, transformative or sustaining character, reflecting an unusually deep dedication to, or uncommon generosity of time or means in support of, the Rice engineering community. Alumni who perform such service while serving in REA leadership roles or as Rice employees remain eligible for the DSM, but mere successful execution in an established volunteer or professional position is not, by itself, sufficient for the award. On the other hand, service that meets the standard for the DSM should be not discounted simply because it was performed in a particular capacity. Similarly, the DSM is not an "appreciation" award based primarily on offices held, longevity of employment, or financial generosity, nor is any particular duration of service required; but any or all of these factors may be justly considered as evidence of exceptionally meritorious service. 

The Alumni Honors program is administered on behalf of the School of Engineering by the REA Board of Directors, through its Alumni Honors Committee. Alumni who are members of the Board or the Honors Committee at the time of selection are not eligible. The awards need not be given every year.

List of Past Honorees
  • Outstanding Engineering Alumni

    2016 - Lihong Wang '92
    2015 - Jeff Taylor '80
    2014 - Sandra K. Johnson '88
    2013 - Juan C. Meza '78, '79, '86 
    2012 - N. Wayne Hale Jr. ’76
    2011 - R. Norris Keeler ’51
    2010 - Lynn Laverty Elsenhans ’78
    2009 - Wanda Sigur ’79
    2008 - Charles J. Newell ’78, ’80, ’89
    2007 - Richard Massey ’53, ’54
    2006 - Hector Ruiz ’73
    2005 - Pat H. Moore ’52
    2004 - Stephen J. Sheafor ’72; John R. Treichler ’69
    2003 - William N. Sick ’57
    2002 - Richard Bost ’76, ’78
    2001 - C. Sidney Burrus ’57, ’58, ’60; Philip Glynn ’59
    2000 - Fred Russell ’57
    1999 - Robert R. Maxfield ’63
    1998 - Patsy Chappelear ’53
    1997 - Joseph Reilly ’48
    1996 - Terry Koonce ’60, ’64
    1995 - Orville D. Gaither ’49
    1994 - Kenneth E. Jones ’33
    1993 - Burton J. McMurtry ’57; M. Kenneth Oshman ’62
    1992 - W. Bernard "Ber" Pieper ’54
    1991 - Walter P. Moore Jr. ’60
    1990 - Griff Lee ’51
    1989 - George Miner ’50
    1988 - Patrick Conley ’42
    1987 - I.A. Naman ’38
    1986 - Charles S. Matthews ’41, ’43, ’44
    1985 - Riki Kobayashi ’44; Warren E. White ’57
    1984 - Louis D. Spaw Jr. ’40
    1983 - Alan J. Chapman ’45; James R. Sims ’41
    1982 - Lewis A. Waters ’60
    1981 - David E. Farnsworth ’42; John G. Holland ’30
    1980 - Jennings A. Massingill ’42
    1979 - David L. Rooke ’44
    1978 - Ernest Dell Butcher ’34
    1977 - Stanley C. Moore ’37
    1976 - Walter P. Moore Sr. ’27
    1975 - Herbert Allen ’29
    1974 - George R. Brown ’20



  • Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni
    2016 - David Allison  '08
    2015 - Elle Anderson '01  
    2014 - Rakesh Agrawal '98
    2013 - Andrew J. Schaefer '94
    2012 - Troy Thacker ’95
    2011 - Aaron Hertzmann ’96
    2010 - Justin Romberg ’97, ’99, ’04
    2009 - Christof Spieler ’97, ’99 
    2008 - Parthasarathy Ranganathan ’97, ’01
    2007 - Chaitali Sengupta ’95, ’99 
    2006 - J. Patrick Frantz ’97 
    2005 - Timothy R. Dehne ’87
    2004 - Theodora Overfelt Pounds ’96 
    2003 - John D. Miner ’88
    2002 - Eric Sachs ’93
    2001 - Donald Greive ’84
    2000 - Lawrence Ciscon ’88, ’90, ’93
    1999 - J.D. Sitton III ’85
    1998 - Al Hirshberg ’82, 83
    1997 - Matthew Barry ’84, ’85, ’92, ’02
    1996 - William H. White ’85

  • Distinguished Service Medal

    2015 - Ann Doerr ’75 ’76; John Doerr ’73 ‘74                                                                          

    2013 - C. Sidney Burrus '57, '60

    2012 - J. Bartlett Sinclair ’73, ’74, ’78

Nominations for Alumni Honors

We encourage everyone to nominate deserving individuals for these honors. Nominations are actively requested from previous honorees, School of Engineering faculty and the engineering community and are welcome from any other interested parties. 

The Alumni Honors Committee reviews applications in late spring of each year and presents its recommendations to the REA Board of Directors in May. A prospective honoree must be able to attend the Alumni Honors Presentation, held the Friday of Rice Homecoming Weekend, in order to receive the award. We welcome nominations throughout the year. Nominating people is easy and fast; it only takes filling out a webform. The deadline for nominations is August 31, 2017. Or please email Alumni Honors Chair Arnaud Chevallier if you would like to nominate someone. 


Presentation of Awards - 2016


2016 Alumni Honors Presentation & Reception
The Alumni Honors event took place during homecoming weekend on Friday October 21, 2016 at Duncan Hall.

Congratulations to Dr. Lihong Wang, who received the 2016 REA Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award, and Dr. David Allison, who received the 2016 REA Outstanding Young Engineering Alumnus award. George R. Brown School of Engineering Dean Ned Thomas gave his annual state of the school address at the event.



2016 Outstanding Engineering Alumnus


Lihong Wang  -  PhD EE ’92

Lihong Wang earned his Ph.D. degree at Rice under the tutelage of Robert Curl, Richard Smalley, and Frank Tittel. He currently holds the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professorship of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. His book entitled “Biomedical Optics: Principles and Imaging” was one of the first textbooks in the field and won the 2010 Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award. He also edited the first book on photoacoustic tomography and coauthored a book on polarization. He has published 437 peer-reviewed articles in journals, including Nature (Cover story), Science, PNAS, and PRL, and has delivered 433 keynote, plenary or invited talks. He has received 37 research grants as principal investigator, with a cumulative budget of over $47 million. He is a fellow of various professional societies and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biomedical Optics. He chairs the annual conference on Photons plus Ultrasound, and was a chartered member of an NIH Study Section.

Professor Wang serves as the founding chair of the scientific advisory boards of two companies which have commercialized photoacoustics. He received the NIH’s FIRST, NSF’s CAREER, NIH Director’s Pioneer and NIH Director’s Transformative Research awards. He also received the OSA C.E.K. Mees Medal, IEEE Technical Achievement Award, IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award, SPIE Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award, and Senior Prize of the International Photoacoustic and Photothermal Association for “seminal contributions to photoacoustic tomography and Monte Carlo modeling of photon transport in biological tissues.” An honorary doctorate was conferred on him by Lund University, Sweden. His lab is transitioning to Caltech, but he plans to continue his collaborations with his current institution. 

2016 Outstanding Young Engineering Alumnus

David D. Allison  -  PhD BIOE '08

David Allison earned his doctorate in 2008 with Jane Grande-Allen serving as his adviser.  David is a principal with 5AM Ventures, a leading venture capital firm with ~$1B under management with offices in Boston and San Francisco. David joined 5AM Ventures in August 2016 in San Francisco and focuses on making and managing investments in biotechnology and drug delivery companies.

Prior to 5AM Ventures, he was a principal at Versant Ventures, where he focused on biotechnology and medical device investments, and was involved with companies such as Aprea, BioTie Therapies (acquired by Acorda), Crinetics, Holaira and NeuWave Medical (acquired by Johnson and Johnson).

Prior to Versant, he was a principal at Split Rock Partners in Menlo Park, CA and a Senior Associate at PTV Healthcare Capital, located in Austin, TX. Before his career in venture capital, he spent time with SurModics in its diagnostics and drug discovery business unit and as a National Science Foundation Research Fellow at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Heart Valve Laboratory.  

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